Kalamazoo College’s Festival Playhouse will celebrate its 56th season by honoring a tradition of empowering women through a community of theatre.
Under a theme of “HERstory: Forgotten Female Figures,” the three mainstage plays will provide a realistic and meaningful look at women whose voices aren’t always heard—let alone amplified—and will reflect the work the Playhouse strives to accomplish offstage.
In the fall production of the musical Spitfire Grill by Fred Alley and James Valcq, parolee Percy Talbott tries to forge a new place for herself in the small town of Gilead, Wisconsin, as she combats town gossip, mostly about herself. In addition to female empowerment, the production’s themes include redemption, the economic problems of small towns, and the plight of Vietnam War veterans. The show will run Nov. 7-10.
Silent opens in the darkest months when the stars are brightest and runs Feb. 27-March 1. The play by Lauren Gunderson honors astronomer Henrietta Leavitt for the discoveries she made without recognition in her lifetime. In 1900, she has the opportunity to work at Harvard College Observatory, but is denied he opportunities of her male counterparts. Regardless, she enthusiastically begins tracking changes in Cepheid stars, leading to scientific discoveries that have long-term implications in the field of astronomy.
The season will conclude May 14-17 with the Pulitzer Prize-winning play Water by the Spoonful by Quiara Alegría Hudes. The play follows Odessa Ortiz, who uses the screen name Haikumom to moderate a chat room that ministers to those struggling with addiction as her own family life falls apart.
All three shows will be produced at the Nelda K. Balch Playhouse. Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for seniors 65 and older, and $5 for students in the general public. Tickets are free to patrons who present a Kalamazoo College ID. Tickets will be available beginning Sept. 16 at festivalplayhouse.ludus.com or by calling the box office at 269.337.7333.
Visit the Festival Playhouse website for more information on the upcoming theatre season and additional student productions.